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Gyms Restricted To 25% Capacity Say Their COVID Spread Rate is .0057%

March 2, 2021

After fighting for months to get the green light from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration to reopen fitness centers around the state, operators got the OK last September 9 at 25% capacity.  

Now the gyms are back ready to ask for an increase, and they claim they have data to back it up. 
 
The reason for closing the facilities in the first place was to avoid the spread of the virus. The chair of the Michigan Fitness Club Association is preparing to share with the Governor and others that “we believe COVID is not being spread in our facilities.” 
 
Pre-pandemic, there were about 14 million check-ins at gyms and workout centers around the state. As of the end of January, the association is reporting it had seven million check-ins, and of those, there was one case of COVID for every 17,500 check-ins or .0057%. This was among members and staffers. 
 
Bryan Rief said his members are following the safety protocols of masking up and social distancing and no group exercises. And while he argued there is minimal COVID spread, he does believe the 25% capacity limit is spreading a broader economic pain for his members. 
 
“It is not good. We are in a survival mode,” he said. He thinks the Planet Fitness gyms will survive, and they make up 80 of the 140-member association. But the smaller facilities, that is another question. 
 
He said the national gym association reported at the end of the year that 17% of the fitness centers had gone under. He said in Michigan, he has ten to twelve of these non-franchise operations that are at the greatest risk and it will be “tough” for them. And he said there are more of those facilities that are not part of the MFCA. 
 
As the governor has hinted she is moving toward relaxing some restrictions, the association is hoping it can get in on that action as well. 

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